Monday, March 05, 2007

The Only God Possible

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My frined Tiny Thinker asks "if God exists (assume God exists) which God is 'he?'"


But this is a pointless question because there can be only one God. This I will demonstrate in a moment. Butt he point is, the proer question is not "which God is it?" But which religious tradition best mediates an understanding and the transfomrative power for living of the only God there could be?

There is one reality behind all religions. Like a prision, light has many aspects and what appears to be one pure white like is actually borken down into all the hues imaginable. This is like God, there are many aspects to the divine and when loaded into cultural constructs our experiences of the divine may take on infinite veriety.

Most atheists think of god(s) as the big guy in the sky. You see God as a big guy on a throne. He's just a contingent being like us.He's just magnified in his power. He's like a big guy. But God as we speak of God in the Christian sense is not like this at all.

Yes, there are images of the big guy pinated in the OT. That's because the understanding of the Jews evolved.It was very primative at first. they were experiencing God the way we all do. They were running into the power of God here and there, and experiencing God in their own personal lives as conviction of conscience and supersitcion. An admixture of sacred and profane.

In exodus 3 when God tells Moses his true name he revaled something about himself that forever places the Hebrew notion of God far beyond that of the big sky daddy on a throne. He tells him his name which is "I am that I am." In a latter era the understanding of some rabbis would lead them to translate this into Greek "I am the being" or "I am being itself."

In Christian parlance God is Eternal, logically and ontologically necessary, the primary condition under which all other conditions arize (what used to be called "first cause") and transcendent of all human understanding. This places God on a level above and beyond that of any particular being. God is is not "a being" because he's not one of many. He exits at a level above that of "thing hood." God is not a being or a thing or a substance, God is the basis of all being, of all things, of all substances.

Any concept of God or diety or the top of the metaphysical heirarchy is a place holder that points to this concpet; just as any three sided shape is a triangle..

This is why there can only be one God. There can only be one basis of all that is. All the little demi-gods that are really just contingencies like Zeus and Molech and whathaveyou are just plae relfections of a much higher conept. They merely place markers that point to God.

So which tradition does best mediate? They are all valid. They are not compeitors.

The one best mediates in my view is Christianity. Why:

(1) Grace

(2) Jesus

Jesus is the true revelation of God to humanity. all others are just trying real hard. But they are all valid expressions of the encoding of our experinces of the divine into cultural constructs, which is the only way we can communicate.


tinythinker said...

I may have asked that at some point in my life, but I do believe that your recent writing was inspired by someone else. Be that as it may, I think you're writing sounds on track until the end. I don't think any one path is the most expedient or meaningful for every single person.

J.L. Hinman said...

are you acussing me of pleagerism? All people have influences. My thought is influnced by a lot of people.,

well I believe Jesus is Lord.

tinythinker said...

"are you acussing me of pleagerism?"

No. I am referring to the part where you suggest you are replying to something I asked.

J.L. Hinman said...

I know. I was kidding. thanks Tiny

Weekend Fisher said...

I dunnno. Take, for example, what you said about what's "meaningful". Meaning is a pointer to a greater reality, an indicator of content.

Is reality supposed to be so different from one person to another? Or is humanity supposed to be so different from one person to another?

Take, say, Buddhism. I have a lot of respect for Buddhism. It has many good principles. Everyone could learn something good from it. The good things that can be learned from Buddhism can (by and large) be learned from any of the major religions.

But I think there are a handful of places where Buddhism scores a clean miss. Take, for example, Buddhism's approach to (avoidance of) suffering, its arms'-length approach to love, its non-interaction with the idea of redemption. For all the nobility that you can find in it, its "hope" looks an awful lot like "despair in dress clothes".

Then there's the fact that I'm suspicious of the "all paths / pick your own path" line on general principles. It seems to me that the approach is often (not always) disingenuous. It starts with "Let's assume Jesus' resurrection either didn't happen or didn't matter, and then ask why we should consider Jesus different from the rest." Back to meaning and signs and pointers to greater reality: God loves us. Death is not the end. Suffering is not meaningless, but only because God redeems it. Our failures are not permanently hung around our necks, and our shortcomings are not our doom. These are the content of the reality of Jesus' resurrection. For me, any conversation that starts with "Let's say it didn't happen and then talk about meaning", that's a non-starter.

Take care & God bless